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Allergy. 2012 Aug;67(8):1033-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2012.02856.x. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Evidence for a genetic interaction in allergy-related responsiveness to vitamin D deficiency.

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1
Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics and MRC Centre for the Epidemiology of Child Health, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The hormonal form of vitamin D affects both adaptive and innate immune functions involved in the development of allergies. Certain genotypes have been seen to alter the association between vitamin D deficiency (VDD) and the risk of food sensitization in children.

METHODS:

We examined 27 functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in/near selected candidate genes for association with total immunoglobulin E (IgE) and effect modification by 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the 1958 British birth cohort (aged 45 years, n = 4921). A cut-off value of 50 nmol/L was used to define VDD.

RESULTS:

Four SNPs (in FCER1A, IL13, and CYP24A1) and three SNPs (in IL4 and CYP24A1) were associated with total IgE and specific IgE, respectively, after correction for multiple testing. As in a previous study, MS4A2 (rs512555, P(interaction) = 0.04) and IL4 (rs2243250, P(interaction) = 0.02), and their composite score (P(interaction) = 0.009) modified the association between VDD and allergy-related outcome. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher total IgE only in the carriers of the 'C' allele (IL4), which is present in 86% of white Europeans, while only 26% of Chinese and <20% of some African populations are carriers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study on white European adults was consistent with a previous study on children from largely non-white ethnic groups, suggesting that IL4 and MS4A2 genotypes modify the association between VDD and allergy risk. The risk allele in IL4 is present in nearly 90% of white Europeans, while less than a quarter are carriers in some other populations, highlighting the need to consider possible ethnic differences in allergy-related responsiveness to VDD.

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